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  • Daniel Hooker

WCU Football Remains Among FCS National Rankings

Western Carolina football remained ranked in both NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national polls released on Monday following last Saturday’s loss to No. 3/4 Furman in a matchup between Southern Conference unbeaten teams. The Catamounts slid two spots in both tabulations, landing at No. 10 in the Stats Perform FCS media poll while slipping to No. 16 in the AFCA Coaches Poll.

It's the sixth straight week that the Catamount football team has been among the national rankings – and the fifth consecutive to be listed in both national polls. This year’s squad matches the longest run among the national rankings since also carrying a number next to its name for six consecutive weeks from early October through mid-November 2017.

Western Carolina slipped from its eighth-place ranking in the media poll a week ago which had matched the program’s highest-ever national ranking in either major poll since moving to the NCAA Division I level in 1976, mirroring the 1993 squad’s entry into the national Top 10. The Catamounts, who missed seven players from their projected two-deep including four starters due to a variety of injuries against the Paladins, were down from their No. 14 national ranking a week ago in the coaches poll.

WCU continues to be among three Southern Conference teams in the rankings and four overall that received votes this week. Furman, the lone remaining SoCon unbeaten team, continues to pace the conference a No. 3 in both polls, while Chattanooga climbed to 15th in the AFCA coaches poll and moved to 17th in the media vote. Mercer, who WCU faces this Saturday, is receiving votes in just the AFCA poll – seventh among the 10 teams earning votes this week.

Also on Monday, WCU senior LB Va Lealaimatafao was listed as an honorable mention for the FedEx Ground FCS National Defensive Player of the Week. The San Antonio, Texas, native led the Catamount defense last weekend with a career-high 17 tackles including 10 solo stops against No. 3/4 Furman. The 17 total hits by Lealaimatafao are tied for the 11th-most by an individual in the NCAA FCS this season and represented the most by a Catamount defender since LB Ty Harris also posted 17 stops against Samford back in Nov. 2019.

Looking to start a new winning streak, Western Carolina (5-2, 3-1 SoCon) plays the backend of a two-game homestand by hosting the Mercer Bears (5-3, 3-2 SoCon) on Homecoming this Saturday, Oct. 28 in Cullowhee. Kickoff at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field is set for 2:30 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live streaming audio through the Catamount Sports Network beginning at 1:30 p.m. Tickets and game day parking passes for Saturday's Homecoming game are available at the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center; by phone at (828) 227-2401; or online at For a complete listing of WCU’s Homecoming Week activities, visit

WCU's weekly football coaches show, "Catamount Football Weekly" with head coach Kerwin Bell continues Monday (Oct. 23) night at 6 p.m. The show originates live-on-location at Innovation-Cullowhee, located on the first-floor Noble Hall in the heart of the WCU campus. The show also airs on Facebook LIVE through the Catamount Athletics Facebook page (

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